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Thu, 20 Feb 2020
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Magic Wand

Hyperactivity and academic achievement could be linked by genetics

Children who are hyperactive tend to do worse academically than their peers who are not hyperactive. Although the relationship between such behaviors as overactivity, impulsivity, and inattentiveness in children and poor achievement in math, reading, language, and other areas has been well documented, little is known about the reasons for this link. New research shows that the tie may be due to genetic influences.

The study, conducted by researchers at Boston University and at the Social Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry in London, appears in the May/June 2007 issue of the journal Child Development. The researchers examined the extent to which common genetic and environmental factors operate across hyperactivity and achievement in nearly 2,000 7-year-old pairs of twins taking part in the U.K.-based Twins Early Development Study. In the study, both parents and teachers provided ratings of twins' hyperactive behavior problems (e.g., restlessness, fidgeting, distractibility, impulsivity, and attention span). Academic achievement was based on teacher assessments of English and mathematics skills conducted at the end of the first year of primary school (equivalent to first grade in the United States).

Health

University of Missouri Study on Link Between Autism and Mercury a Discredit to Sound Science, Says SafeMinds

Undisclosed industry funding, unsubstantiated conclusions on vaccines, and study sample alteration undermine credibility on controversial topic

A recent press release from the University of Missouri announced the results of a study on autism and Rh immune globulin (RhIg) injections, some of which contained a mercury preservative called thimerosal. SafeMinds reviewed information about this study and found several troublesome aspects, including undisclosed industry funding, unsubstantiated conclusions on vaccines and mercury, and deviation from acceptable scientific practice.

Attention

IDF secretly uses soldiers as anthrax vaccine guinea pigs

The IDF secretly used elite combat soldiers as "guinea pigs" for experimental anthrax vaccines, according to an expose broadcast Wednesday night by the "Uvda" (Fact) documentary program.

Presenter Ilana Dayan revealed how in 2000, the army decided to carry out anthrax antibody experiments ahead of independent manufacture in Israel.

According to the report, hundreds of young recruits into Israel's elite combat units were offered the opportunity to partake in a top secret experiment codenamed "Omer 2". They were led to believe they were performing a national service of the utmost importance to the state.

The soldiers were told that the antibody had been approved by the American FDA as far back as 1970 and was used on thousands of American military personnel. It was explained that the experiment they would undergo constituted the final phase prior to anthrax vaccine production in Israel, which would cater to a possible eventuality of a biological attack on military or civilian populations.

Ambulance

Children face exposure to pesticides

STRATHMORE, Calif. - On Grandparents Day, Domitila Lemus accompanied her 8-year-old granddaughter to school. As the girls lined up behind Sunnyside Union Elementary, a foul mist drifted onto the playground from the adjacent orange groves, witnesses say. Lemus started coughing, and two children collapsed in spasms, vomiting on the blacktop.

Health

Back Pain: X-rays and MRIs are often unnecessary. Your best bet? Staying active

Getting off the couch and accepting low-grade pain may be one of the keys to improved function in back pain.

The intervention that shows the most benefit? Keeping active. Millions of dollars of research to tell us that "motion is lotion, baby." Not as in moving propane tanks or other heavy activity that makes the pain worse, but just keeping moving.

Health

Heavy multivitamin use may be linked to advanced prostate cancer

While regular multivitamin use is not linked with early or localized prostate cancer, taking too many multivitamins may be associated with an increased risk for advanced or fatal prostate cancers, according to a study in the May 16 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Bomb

Russia warns of AIDS epidemic, 1.3 mln with HIV

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's AIDS epidemic is worsening with as many as 1.3 million people infected with HIV as the virus spreads further into the heterosexual population, Russia's top AIDS specialist said on Tuesday.

Cut

Beheaded human body can stay alive and kicking

One of the issues of a New York medical bulletin dating back to 1888 contains description of an amazing case of a sailor who was badly injured while on duty. The sailor worked at a river tugboat. One day his tugboat was towing a barge loaded with bulky boxes, which were stacked on the deck in two tiers, one above the other. The sailor was positioned on the bow of the barge as his tugboat was nearing a bridge with a low archway. By some unfortunate twist of fate, the sailor decided to check lashings on the top level boxes at that point. He stuck his head above the boxes and began examining the lashings. His eyes were looking aft as the tugboat moved up closer to the bridge. The sailor was completely unaware of the imminent danger looming a few yards away. A sharp-edged lower beam of the bridge span ran against the sailor's head, cutting a sizeable piece off his skull, approximately two inches above his right eye.


The rest of the story reads like a miracle.

Magic Wand

Sleepless for science: Flies show link between sleep, immune system in Stanford study

Go a few nights without enough sleep and you're more likely to get sick, but scientists have no real explanation for how sleep is related to the immune system. Now, researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine are finding that fruit flies can point to the answers.

What they have learned thus far is that illness and sleep disruption may be a two-way street: sick flies can't sleep, and losing sleep makes them more susceptible to infection.

"When flies get sick, they stop sleeping," said David Schneider, PhD, assistant professor of microbiology and immunology. "Disrupting sleep in turn disrupts the immune system, which makes them even more infected and it's downhill from there in a 'spiral of death.'" Schneider is the senior author of a study on the sleep patterns of flies that will be published in the May 15 issue of Current Biology.

Schneider worked with postdoctoral scholar Mimi Shirasu-Hiza, PhD, who is the study's first author, to examine the connection between illness and sleep patterns by infecting fruit flies with one of two bacteria - Streptococcus pneumoniae or Listeria monocytogenes.

The infected flies lost their "day" and "night" patterns of activity, which are part of the regular changes that occur in the course of a day, called circadian rhythm. Uninfected flies alternate between 12 hours of high activity and 12 hours of low activity. The researchers found the sick flies had fewer sleep sessions and shorter periods of continuous sleep than did healthy flies. They basically just didn't sleep well, concluded the researchers.

Bulb

'Might have been' key in evaluating behavior

"What might have been" or fictive learning affects the brain and plays an important role in the choices individuals make - and may play a role in addiction, said Baylor College of Medicine researchers and others in a report that appears online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

These "fictive learning" experiences, governed by what might have happened under different circumstances, "often dominate the evaluation of the choices we make now and will make in the future, " said Dr. P. Read Montague, Jr., professor of neuroscience at BCM and director of the BCM Human Neuroimaging Laboratory and the newly formed Computational Psychiatry Unit. "These fictive signals are essential in a person's ability to assess the quality of his or her actions above and beyond simple experiences that have occurred in the immediately proximal time."

Using techniques honed in previous experiments that studied trust, Montague and his colleagues used an investment game to test the effects of these "what if" thoughts on decisions in 54 subjects. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure blood flow changes in specific areas of the brain, they precisely measured responses to economic instincts.

These blood flow changes in the brain reflect alterations in the activity of nerve cells in the vicinity. In this case, they measured the brain's response to "what could have been acquired" and "what was acquired." This newly discovered "fictive learning" signal was measured, localized and precisely parsed from the brain's standard reward signal that reflects actual experience.